Key Considerations For Alimony Settlement Eligibility

Settling the issue of alimony is one of several steps you have to take when it comes to negotiating a divorce settlement. There are a broad range of factors that could affect how much alimony you or your spouse is entitled to or, in some cases, whether alimony is justified at all. The following takes a look at some of these considerations and how they can affect your alimony settlement.

Length of Marriage

The first thing a judge is likely to look at is how long you and your spouse have been married. The longer the marriage, the greater amount of support you or your spouse will likely receive.

There is no hard rule determining exactly how long spousal support should last or how much should be given for a particular length of time. In most cases, the alimony lasts only for as long as a judge feels is enough time for the recipient to become self-supporting. Some states automatically grant alimony for marriages that have lasted for more than 10 years.

Current and Future Earnings

The judge will also take you and your spouse's current salary and the future earnings potential of the recipient spouse. If one spouse earned significantly less than the other, the spouse with the lower income is likely to receive an alimony settlement that allows that person to maintain their standard of living.

Not only are wages and salaries factored into the settlement amount, but the judge may also look at other sources of income, including trusts, dividends and interest from savings and/or investment accounts. If either spouse contributed to the other's education and career advancement, such contributions will also be factored into the settlement amount.

Children and Custody Status

Having children can also have far-reaching consequences on the final alimony settlement amount calculated by the courts. It's quite possible for the parent who has majority custody to have limited future earnings due to increased parental responsibilities. As a result, the custodial parent may receive a larger settlement amount for a longer period of time until the children reach adult age or the parent manages to become self-supporting.

Factoring Fault

Last but not least, the judge may take a look at who's at fault for the marriage failure. This isn't a common circumstance and most states prevent fault-creating circumstances (such as adultery) from being factored into alimony payment calculations.

Although a judge will take all of the above factors into consideration, it is ultimately up to you to negotiate a fair and amicable settlement for yourself or your spouse. You should always have your divorce attorney at your side to guide you through the intricacies of this sometimes difficult but necessary process. To find out more, speak with someone like Koth & Gregory PC Law Firm.